We have all been there. Buying one too many tutus or sailor suits while we excitedly wait for our own or a friend’s newborn to arrive - they are just too cute! The variety of clothing available in newborn size can be overwhelming, especially for new parents who want to make sure they have everything ready for their new baby.
The secret to dressing your newborn in the first few months is to have comfortable clothing that is temperature appropriate, and easy to change in and out of. Here is our simple guide to help you put the clothes you ACTUALLY need into your baby’s cupboard so that you are organised for your newborn’s arrival.
- Newborns need their diaper changed around ten times a day! With diaper changes and milk spills you will want to have clothing that is easy to get your baby in and out of quickly.
- Cotton is king for baby's clothing and bedding. It is breathable, easy-to-wash and comfortable to live in.
- Don't buy too much up front. Start with the basics and buy (or borrow) as you need more. The stores will still be open after your baby is born.
- Consider the season that your baby will be born in and plan their clothing accordingly. There will be no need for knitted booties and hats in newborn size if your baby is born in the middle of summer.
- Buy mostly white! It is gender neutral and you can wash everything together in the same washing machine load. White cotton can be washed at a higher heat which is good for killing germs.
In the first few weeks you will be changing diapers up to ten times a day, so it makes sense to have your baby in suits you can easily change them in and out of. While traditional buttons are cute, you will be cursing them as you fiddle to open and close them on a squirmy baby.
The best all-in-one suits have a wider opening at the neck to make it easy to put it over baby’s head, and either snap buttons at the crouch or a zip or tie up the front. Bodysuits come in many different sleeve styles, so buy according to the season.
When deciding what size to buy, bigger is better. One size bigger not only makes changing easier, but your baby will be able to wear it for longer.
As your baby will be sleeping through the day and night, they are technically in their pajamas all day! We personally used a short sleeve bodysuit as pajamas for day and night, adding leggings when baby was awake and not covered with a swaddle. A long sleeve, long leg all-in-one suit is also a great option.
Always go for cotton (ideally organic) as this is the most comfortable and breathable fabric for babies. The softer the better!
Hot tip: a second-hand Bonpoint bodysuit is a great find. They are the softest lightest cotton which is very comfortable and luxurious on baby’s skin.
Stretchy cotton leggings are key to keeping baby’s legs warm over the top of a bodysuit. Have a few pairs to hand in case of nappy accidents throughout the day!
Indoor air-conditioning or heating (depending on the season) can make it difficult for one outfit to be suitable for the full day. As babies are not able to regulate their own temperature in the first few months, it is good to plan for temperature changes with easy to take on and off layers.
A soft cotton cardigan is a must have for summer, as it is breathable and adds warmth without too much heat. A cardigan style is much easier to take on and off then a sweater, with an easy button or zip open front. Sweaters are cute, but keep in mind they will need to go over the head when your tyke gets too warm (or needs a full outfit change). If you have a winter baby, buy your cardigans in warm wool (or the softest of all, cashmere - why not?).
4-5 Pairs of Socks
A beanie or hat is good to have on hand in case it gets cool. Opt for lightweight cotton for indoors or summer, and a knitted style for winter.
4-5 Fabric Bibs
A soft fabric bib will prevent milk spills and spit-ups from getting on your baby’s clothes. The aim is to change the bib multiple times a day, not the whole outfit!!
Swaddles are not exactly clothing, but we are including them in this guide as babies will sleep and live in these these all day (and night) in the first few months!
There are so many different types of swaddles on the market, all with the aim of making it easy for parents to swaddle quickly and easily! Our advice is to buy (or borrow) one to three styles, then buy more when you know what works best for you and your baby.
The love-to-dream is a popular choice with an easy zip up the middle and a peeping hole at the back so you can check if you need to change a nappy before completely unwrapping the baby. Love-to-dream allows your baby to sleep with arms up which some babies will prefer. You won’t know until you try as all babies seem to have a slightly different preference with how they like to be wrapped up!
Other swaddles on the market have velcro closures which personally I loved. It made it so easy to get a neat and tight swaddle in the middle of the night, which settled my baby (and therefore me!) quickly back to sleep.
A cotton swaddle with some stretch can be easier to tightly secure around your baby. A friend found the stretchy cotton style to be her favourite.
A basic muslin swaddle is a must-have whether it becomes your go-to swaddle or not. They are really lightweight and breathable, so they make a lovely nursing cover or pram cover to keep the sun off your baby. They are the best lightweight blanket for on-the-go as they easily fit in your baby bag or pram, and they can also be used as a playmat or nappy change pad in public spaces. We love Aden & Anais muslin swaddles.
2-3 Cotton Blankets
A cotton blanket will go with you everywhere to keep your baby warm while they sleep either at home or on-the-go. Our midwife suggested covering the baby’s legs from the waist down over the top of the swaddle to add extra warmth. Have a couple in rotation in case one gets dirty and you need a quick back up.
1 Special Occasion Outfit
While these outfits are the most fun to buy, you will only put your baby in it for a photoshoot or special occasion.
Having one outfit you love will mean it will get worn a few times before your baby grows out of it. Buying a special occasion outfit second-hand is genius! Chances are the previous owner didn’t get to wear it very often, so it will still be in perfect condition.
A baby sized ski-suit is not just for the snow. If you are travelling to a cold climate, or trying to survive at home through the winter, a ski-suit is essential for keeping your baby snug outdoors. You will only need one, and as the suits are so durable they are likely to still be in mint condition when they are outgrown.
Gift cards are a great way to minimise the wastage with baby gifts as often new parents receive way more than they need in small sizes. A gift card allows the parent to shop for the things they missed, or buy the next size in the things they use a lot!
You will hear it many times that “kids grow up too fast”. At Retykle we see first hand how many newborn clothing items are hardly worn or still have their tags on when they are sold with us! Before buying brand new, consider what items you could find second-hand. Not only will you be able to buy something of a higher quality (and more beautiful fabrics) for your baby, but you will save on the original price.
The earlier you can start making sustainable choices for your family, the greater impact you will have on preserving our environment. By the time each tyke is fully grown they will outgrow upwards of 1500 items of clothing! Buying quality clothes up-front and passing them on when your tyke outgrows them could mean 1500 items less in landfill.